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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gestures toward a stack representing
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a new ad on the air and I'll admit that it's a pretty good one, telling the story of a worker at Paducah's nuclear plant who credits McConnell with giving him access to the health care services he needed to survive cancer.

True, it's a bit much to hear McConnell tout himself as the champion of Paducah given that he sat on the sidelines for years, only taking action after public disclosure of the fact that thousands of workers at the facility had been exposed to radioactive materials, but if all you know about the issue is what McConnell's media team packed into the ad, you'd probably give him some credit for compassion.

But, as Greg Sargent notes, the context in which this ad will be received is the context in which tens of thousands of previously uninsured Kentuckians now have health insurance thanks entirely to Obamacare. And as everybody who has ever listened to anything Mitch McConnell has to say about the topic knows, he wants to repeal Obamacare completely.

Talking about Obamacare repeal before it went into effect was an exercise in abstraction. Now, however, it is providing real coverage to real people, and when McConnell says we should get rid of it, he's also saying those people should have their health insurance taken away. No matter how many times he calls it Obamacare, that's not a position that will go over well with voters, even in red states. (Case in point: The special House election in Louisiana where a Republican newcomer backed by none other than the Duck Dynasty cast defeated an established Republican thanks in no small measure to his support for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.)

McConnell, of course, faces a challenge from the right. The primary isn't until May, but Matt Bevin, McConnell's opponent, won the support of FreedomWorks today. But while McConnell can't simply walk away form his hardline position against Obamacare without exposing himself to attacks from Bevin, his new ad shows that he and his political operation are acutely aware that being against Obamacare has a major political downside.

McConnell's solution to the problem is to use an emotional ad to try to rebrand himself as a compassionate and empathetic supporter of delivering health care services to Kentucky, but while his solution makes for a good 60 second ad, ultimately it doesn't change this simple fact: If Mitch McConnell gets his way, tens of thousands of Kentuckians and millions of Americans will lose health care coverage. That's a bad position for him to take, and he seems to know it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:30 AM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos.

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